Christian Rettich is working on the development of Kongsberg Maritime‘s new K-Lander ocean observatories.
TASKS: I work on anything to do with the K-Lander, which means design, construction, planning and estimating the time required for commissioning. It all started when I wanted to write my master‘s thesis on the K-Lander, which resulted in my being offered a job involving that product. My job involves quite a lot of meetings, where we discuss new ideas on how to develop the product further. Some of what we do is standardised, but there are always challenges with the project. For example, we need to motivate, support and manage the staff involved in the project. What‘s interesting about this job is that I get the chance to manage people, but also to be creative and work on development. It‘s a real all-round job. We also work across different locations, since part of my department is based in Kiel. That‘s where the K-Lander‘s environmental sensors are manufactured, and these then come to Halstenbeck for commissioning. This system works very well, because we‘re quite a small team and we know each other well.
SKILLS: It‘s important not to lose sight of what you‘re working with, and it‘s important to be both organised and creative at the same time. You also need to take into account what could go wrong on the project, and be prepared for this. At the start of a new project, there‘ s room for some creativity, and then you gradually start to structure the ideas, but you also have to be open to creativity once the project is underway. This is a kind of interdisciplinary job, where I really get to use my degree in mechatronics, which is a combination of mechanics, optics and electronics. It means I have to be good at maintaining an overview of what we‘re working on, and seeing the whole picture.
TOOLS: In terms of tools, what we mainly use is a program called SolidWorks to draw the models and structure of the K-Lander in 3D. As for our working method, what‘s important is for us to work together as a group, all the way through from the start. This allows us to discuss requirements for new products and projects as a team. We always start together, and then get on with our individual assignments, but we have regular status updates throughout a project.
TARGETS: I think I have a really exciting and challenging job now, but obviously there are many opportunities for us to do things better and more efficiently. Continuing to develop the K-Lander is my main objective, and since the product is in its initial phase at the moment, we can continue to work on making it even more modular in the future. The aim of our entire business unit is to develop systems that are modular, scalable and network-based, so we always have to focus on how we can use a product in the future, by thinking of how to transfer applications from one product to another. If we‘re to achieve this, we need to ensure that our processes are good, and that we have a team that works well together. This means that building a good team is an important objective for me.
HIDDEN TALENT: I‘m organised, and able to stay calm when we‘re under a lot of stress. I‘m also good at maintaining an overview. In my spare time I pursue a number of interests, including running, cycling and playing drums in a band. I enjoy this versatility, and that‘s also why I decided to study mechatronics, which is a combination of several different specialities. It allows me to use several different aspects of myself.